South Mountain by Rick Reeve

South Mountain by Rick Reeve
South Mountain by Rick Reeve depicting the wounding of General Garland

Monday, October 4, 2010

10th Georgia at Crampton's Gap

The only regiment from Paul Semme's Brigade to see action at Crampton's Gap, the 10th Georgia infantry commanded by Major Willis C. Holt suffered heavily. The regiment was ordered by Semmes to move in support of Colonel Parham's infantry and Colonel Thomas Munford's Cavalry brigades at the eastern base of the mountain that were beginning to come under pressure from lead elements of the Union 6th Corps if they were needed. Not long after Holt recieves this order from Semme's, Munford sends word to Holt to bring his regiment up to reinforce his ragtag line. Holt goes into postion only to be order by Semmes to return to his original postition along the Rohersville Road in Pleasant Valley. Holt begins his return trip when Colonel Parham orders him to remain on the mountain and to move his regiment to his immediate left to extend the Confederate flank. Holt would send two companies back to his original position and take the remainder of the regiment to the front. Almost immediately, the Georgians would be underfire and by 6 o'clock that evening, they are in full retreat back into Pleasant Valley. Here is Major Holt's official report.

September 22, 1862.

Captain BRIGGS,
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General.

CAPTAIN: On the morning of the 14th instant I received an order from General Semmes to move up to a church on the Rohrersville road for picket duty. In the evening I received another order from General Semmes to go to the support of Colonel Parham, who was picketing at Crampton's Gap, should he send for me. In a short time I received an order from Colonel Munford to bring my command up, as the enemy were approaching in strong force. I moved to the gap, and was ordered by Colonel Parham to a position at the base of the mountain. Just as I had taken the position, I received an order from General Semmes, through Lieutenant Cody, to carry my command back to the church. I started, and, when I reached the summit of the mountain, was ordered by Colonel Parham to remain. Seeing a large force of the enemy in line of battle approaching, and he giving me peremptory orders to remain, I sent two companies to the junction of the roads, and, by his order, moved my command to position on the left of the line he had already formed, which position I maintained until the enemy forced back the regiments on my right and had passed my flank. They (the enemy) being then nearer the gap of the mountain than I was, I was forced to fall back, to prevent being captured, the enemy being checked by a support that had been sent to us by General Cobb. I halted my command, and was forming a line of battle, when I was struck with a spent ball just above the left eye. The blood flowed so profusely from the wound that I was compelled to turn the command over to Captain P. H. Loud and go to the rear. The loss in this battle was 3 killed, 21 wounded, and 37 missing. Captain Y. L. Wootton was wounded and left upon the field; Lieutenant Foster was wounded and borne to the rear, and Lieutenant Olmstead has not since been heard from; was probably wounded and in the hands of the enemy.

The officers and men behaved with great gallantry, except a few who were too cowardly to go to the line of battle.

Major, Commanding Tenth Georgia Regiment.

Source: OFFICIAL RECORDS: Series 1, Vol 19, Part 1 (Antietam - Serial 27) , Pages 876 - 877

1 comment:

  1. I visited Antietam / Sharpsburg battlefield about 2 years ago, along w/ a trip to Manassas and some other sites in the Shenandoah, including the site of Cedar Creek battlefield (Belle Grove plantation) because this was the site where my 3rd great grandfather, Col. Willis C. Holt received his mortal wound in 1864 (Oct 19, 1864 -- although it's not clear he died on the field that day or from wounds later.) In any event, I find his participation in the South Mountain battle and his mention in the O.R. very interesting (he's mentioned on a few other occasions) and since two of my greatest passions are WBTS history and genealogy, these battle sites along with many others where the 10th GA (which for most of the war save for some time after G-burg when Longstreet was detached "West" under Bragg (most notably in the Siege of Knoxville) participated come together -- their inclusion in Longstreet's 1st Corps in the Army of Northern VA put them in some very hot fights and I'm proud to have a direct ancestor in W.C. Holt be a part of South Mountain (I suppose he "missed" Antietam proper because of the wounding in the forehead), but he also was a major participant at Gettysburg as his unit was part of the Wheatfield battle there on day 2 and then of course the battles in the "Western Theater" when his regiment was part of Longstreet's men detached - but for most of the war he was an officer (he began as Captain of Co. C of the 10th Ga.) of a strong fighting unit, and often his unit was depicted as one of the regiment's in Semmes brigade, McLaws Division, 1st Corps (Longstreet) in Lee's Army of Northern VA. Col. Holt (he was leading the regiment at South Mountain as Major as per the O.R. passage above), after having been promoted from Captain, and was later Lt. Colonel, then full Colonel at the time of his death at or after Cedar Creek in / near Middletown / Strasburg, VA where interestingly, his 2nd cousin, Gen. John B. Gordon was a big part of the nearly devastating "sneak attach" on the rear of the Union forces near Belle Grove as the boys in butternut used "pig trails" on the side of some of he nearby Blue Ridge mountains to gain access to the rear of the enemy, ford the creek, but hunger caused the starving soldiers to stop and partake of the Federals breakfasts still in pans a-frying instead of pressing on for the rout, and Sheridan made his famous ride to the sounds of the guns rousing his men to remain and fight, winning back the morning Confederate gains and ultimately securing the valley for the remainder of the war, and perhaps helping the Lincoln administration (not to sleight Atlanta / Sherman's exploits. My genealogy website (see below) and Col. Holt is buried in Woodstock, VA in a memorial cemetery on the grounds of Masanutten Military Academy in Woodstock VA. Col. Holt had a daughter named Lucy Ann who was born in 1860 who later married the overseer of her Aunt Lou (Louvale GA is named after her) Bussey and moved on to TX ca. 1881 -- and we've been here ever since! Fortunes of war -- how they change lives!